08 March 2010

Another weekend, another recipe

Why do I write so much about cooking?

Because I like cooking.

Because I'm good at it.

Because I like to keep records.

Because in my kitchen, I am in control, and the gods know I'm not in control of anything else.

Spaghetti Squash Gratin

1 small spaghetti squash
salt, red pepper, olive oil

2 tbs butter
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 tbs flour
1 cup milk

1 cup shredded cheese (I used a mix of mozzerella, gruyere, and parmesan because I had a little bit of each of those)
1/2 cup buttered breadcrumbs

Batterie de cuisine: large knife, baking tray, heavy saucepan, 9-inch square baking dish

With a large knife, trim off the ends of the spaghetti squash. Then stand it on end, carefully split it in half, and scrape out the seeds and stringy bits. Set the squash halves on a baking tray, cut sides up. Brush cut surfaces with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and red pepper. Bake at 350 F until the squash can be easily pierced with a fork, about 1 hour. Allow to cool and then scrape the flesh into shreds with a fork.

(Note: this is a good way to cook spaghetti squash no matter what you want to do with it -- dress it with butter or olive oil, toss it with tomato sauce, etc.)

In a heavy saucepan, cook the onion in 2 tbs butter until translucent. Add the flour and cook 2-3 minutes longer, until the flour is becoming golden. Slowly add the milk and cook, stirring constantly, until you have a thick, smooth sauce.

(Note: you can use this basic bechamel to make a gratin out of lots of other vegetables, too)

Butter a 9-inch square baking pan. Spread half the spaghetti squash in the pan. Spoon half the bechamel over the squash, and sprinkle half the cheese over the bechamel. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Bake, uncovered, at 350F until starting to bubble at the edges of the pan (45 minutes to an hour). Sprinkle the buttered breadcrumbs over the top of the gratin and bake another 10-15 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are toasted.

(Note: a little chopped ham or cooked bacon sprinkled in with the cheese does not go amiss, if you happen to have some around)

Serves 4 as a main dish, with salad and bread.

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